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Global Food Giants Lobbying for Reduced Food Tariffs & Farm Subsidies

From: THE AGRIBUSINESS EXAMINER
June 20, 2005, Issue #410 Monitoring Corporate Agribusiness From a Public Interest Perspective

EDITOR\PUBLISHER; A.V. Krebs
E-MAIL: avkrebs@earthlink.net
WEB SITE: http://www.ea1.com/CARP/
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U.S. FOOD RETAILERS AND PROCESSORS JOIN WORLD-WIDE COALITION TO LOBBY FOR REDUCED FARM TARIFFS AND SUBSIDIES AT WTO

JERRY HAGSTROM, CONGRESSIONAL DAILY AM: U.S. restaurants, food retailers and processors have joined with agriculture producer groups in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil to form a coalition to lobby for reduced farm tariffs and subsidies at the World Trade Organization headquarters here and in world capitals.

The Global Alliance for Liberalized Trade in Food and Agriculture announced its creation at a news conference here in April, but has not yet established a permanent office.

The Global Alliance's goal is to make it easier for restaurant chains and other buyers of foodstuffs to make their purchases wherever they want them and into other countries without tariffs or other import restrictions.

It is an outgrowth of the Food Trade Alliance, an organization started in January by Yum Foods, the owners of Pizza Hut and other U.S. chain restaurants that have substantial worldwide operations, to lobby on trade and the next U.S. farm bill.

The Washington-based public relations firm PBN also is coordinating the Food Trade Alliance and former Agriculture Secretary Clayton Yeutter, now of counsel to the Hogan & Hartson law firm, is serving as an adviser.

Members of the Food Trade Alliance include the National Retail Federation, the National Restaurant Association, the Food Marketing Institute, the National Council of Chain Restaurants and the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition.

The agricultural producer members are all from countries --- Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Brazil --- that are considered among the most efficient producers in the world and which subsidize their farmers relatively little in comparison with the United States, the European Union, other European countries and Japan. No U.S., European or Japanese producer groups have joined the coalition.

Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Brazil are all members of the Cairns Group of agricultural exporting countries, which encourages reductions in subsidies and tariffs. But Brazil has joined the G20 group of developing countries that argues developed countries should reduce their subsidies and tariffs while developing countries should not need to reduce theirs.

The Global Alliance is composed of 42 groups to date and includes some Japanese and European buyers of foodstuffs. [ June 16, 2005 ]